Early church inspires 2011 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Published 09 October 2010  |  
Jerusalem churches have taken their inspiration from the unity of the early church in materials for the 2011 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Churches from across the denominations in the Holy City were tasked with drawing up resources for the week of prayer, which falls next year on January 18 to 25 for churches in the northern hemisphere.

They selected as the theme for this year's resources, "One in the apostles' teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer," based on Acts 2.42.

As today's global church seeks to build unity in spite of its huge diversity, the resources encourage believers to turn their attention to the values and practices that united the believers of the early church in Jerusalem.

The General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, said: "For Christians in Jerusalem, who live in continuity with the apostolic community of Jerusalem, the mother church of us all, such unity entails prayer, reflection and a cry arising within a context of despair and suffering.

"Together with them we trust that God is ever vigilant as we pray for peace and justice for all inhabitants of the Holy Land."

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a time when many local churches of various traditions get together and hold joint services, prayer meetings and fellowship.

Churches in the southern hemisphere typically hold the week of prayer at Pentecost.

A different region is tasked each year with drafting resources based on a biblical theme. The resources are approved by an international team that includes Protestant and Orthodox members of the World Council of Churches and representatives of the Roman Catholic Church.

The final material is published jointly by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the WCC's Commission on Faith and Order.

Although the material is drafted centrally, churches are encouraged to contextualise the resources for their region.

The Britain and Ireland Writers Group has written additional materials, including daily reflections, orders of service and music, under the banner "All things in common" to accompany the core resources.

Find resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity:
www.oikoumene.org/fileadmin/files/wcc-main/documents/p2/2010/WOP2011eng.pdf
www.ctbi.org.uk/512/

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